Whole Berries (WB):These are whole
grains/berries that have been harvested, cleaned, and bagged, with no
additional processing. They have 0% of the bran removed.
Whole Wheat (WW):
These are whole grains/berries that have been milled into whole wheat flour.
They have 0% of the bran removed, and they have not been sifted or processed in
any other way.
85% Extraction: This refers to whole grains/berries that have
milled into whole wheat flour and then sifted to remove 15% of the total weight of the grain, mostly in the form of bran.
refers to whole grains/berries that have been milled into whole wheat flour and
then sifted to remove 45% of the total weight of the grain, mostly in the form of bran, for our whitest, lightest flour.
Wheat and grains are harvested by combines that remove the heads of the stalks and extract the berries. Our wheat and grains arrive from our farmers in this form, which we then clean and mill into various flours. When you buy “Whole Berry,” you are buying whole berries direct from the plant, simply cleaned, bagged, and sold. No milling, no sifting—just the straight whole berries of wheat or grain. These whole berries can be eaten sprouted, cooked, or milled at home using a counter-top mill.
Extraction is the process of milling then sifting whole berries, which separates the bran from the endosperm and germ. Many bakers believe that larger chunks of bran can interfere with gluten development, so we sift out larger pieces to various percentages to control how the flour might perform in a recipe. For 85% extraction, we sift out 15% of the larger bran chunks; for ‘00’ flours, we remove 45%. Since our stone mills make very fine flour, and our bran chunks are not so big as to affect gluten development; we carry 85% extraction in only a few of our offerings, to supply customer demand. Read on.
Many bakers and bread books insist on 85% extraction in lieu of whole wheat for bread baking. But, monkey wrench here: a great portion of the flavor resides in the bran. Also: the more you sift out, the more you’re throwing away, and the more you have to pay for the same amount of product. It takes 1.45 lbs. of wheat berries to make one lb. of ‘00’ (45% extraction) flour! Also: stone-milled flours fracture the bran into much smaller particles, to such an extent that we’ve seen no issue with gluten development when baking with whole wheat. Verdict? If you’re using our stone-milled flours (vs. roller-milled flours), then we recommend skipping the 85% extraction. Whole wheat has more flavor, costs less, and yields equally strong gluten development.
We know that some of our customers will still insist on 85% extraction flour. Friends, we are doing this for you. But we believe that you don’t need it.
For ‘00’ flour, we remove 45% of the total weight of the grain, mostly in the form of bran, from whole wheat flour. This produces our whitest, lightest flour, which can be desirable when making things like pasta or pizza.
Ancient varieties are the oldest varieties, those developed without any help or interference from mankind, including Einkorn, Emmer, and Oberkulmer Spelt.
Landrace grains refer to open-pollinated varieties, crossed on some level by humans in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Our landrace grains include Turkey Red, Rouge de Bordeaux, Red Fife, Marquis, and Wrens Abruzzi Rye.
Modern varieties, developed in the mid 20th century through today, typically prioritize high yields and resistance to drought and disease above all else, often at the expense of flavor, nutrition, and baking performance. Happily, there are exceptions, including our Yecora Rojo, TAM105, and Danko Rye, who all more than hold their own with the ancient and landrace grains in our offerings.
With roller-milled flours, wheat is hydrated with water to “temper” the grains. This toughens the bran layer and causes it to fracture into larger pieces that are easier to remove in the sifting process. The berries then go through the roller mill, a series of cylindrical rollers that rotate towards each other at very high speeds, shattering the berries. The resulting material is then sifted for a first pass, separating the three main components: bran, endosperm, and germ. The endosperm is then milled and sifted again to make white flour. Many roller-milled “whole wheat” formulations then re-introduce the bran, but not the germ, as oils in the germ are not considered shelf-stable for the long periods that flour may sit on a supermarket shelf.
Stone milling is a much simpler affair. The berries are milled between two stones—a stationary stone on the bottom with a rotating one on top, each cut with milling patterns that dissipate toward the outside of the stone. When dropped into the mill, the grain is first sheared or clipped by the deeper milling patterns. As it moves out to the smoother portion of the stones, it is thoroughly crushed, with the oils expressed and integrated into the endosperm. The resulting flour may then be sifted (or “bolted”) to remove a portion of the bran. But, the germ remains.
You're right—there are many options of grains to choose from and many flours work for all variety of applications. It can be hard to know where to start! Take a look at these handy charts to help you decide which flours will work best for your needs.
Many bread bakers are taught to look for flours with higher percentages of protein. Protein helps with gluten development, providing the structure and strength needed to capture the gasses created by yeast and fermentation. So protein = more dough strength and better baking performance, right? It is actually the quality of the protein that counts more than the percentage.
Many ancient grains—like Einkhorn, for example—may be quite high in protein, but low in protein quality. (Not low inquality; low in protein quality.) Other indicators, including farinograph and mixograph tell a more complete story about protein quality and subsequent gluten development. We have more detailed PDFs that you can download here or from each product page.
A falling number is a measure of enzymatic activity within a grain sample, with a falling number below 300 indicating possible sprout damage prior to harvest.
Rainfall close to harvest time may activate alpha-amylase enzymes in the grain seed, which in turn, breaks down the starchy endosperm into sugars that the germ can consume as it begins to sprout. This starch degradation affects the quality of the flour, as indicated by a lower falling number.
To calculate the falling number, a slurry of flour and water is placed in a tube and a piston is added. The falling number is the time it takes in seconds for the piston to reach the bottom of the tube. The longer it takes for the piston to reach the bottom of the tube, the lower the alpha-amalyse activity, the higher the falling number, and the better the crop. Conversely, the lower the viscosity, the higher the alpha-amalyse: the rainfall has caused more of the grain to sprout, resulting in lower quality flour.
Key take-away: Use flours with falling numbers over 300 when possible.
You can make a 1-to-1 substitution between your regular flour and a comparable BSM flour, so there’s no change there. However, stone-milled flours, and particularly whole wheat, tend to be thirstier than traditional store-bought flours and may require more hydration. If you make your favorite recipe and the dough seems drier than before, don’t be afraid to add more liquid. All other amounts can stay the same.
If you’re looking to replicate the bread flour from your supermarket, we recommend a ‘00’ milling of Marquis, Red Fife, Rouge de Bordeaux, TAM 105, Turkey Red, or Yecora Rojo.
Part of the joy of working with a local mill is the diversity of flours that can be used for bread. Each has its own flavor and personality. We’ve tried to describe them on each product's page, but the best option is simply to bake with them and see what you think for yourself.
We also offer bread baking classes where we showcase a wide variety of breads made with our flours, and that’s an efficient way to get a taste. Until then, here’s a quick start:
Marquis: Mild but delicious. Remarkably extensible. Red Fife: Full-on wheaty deliciousness. Rouge de Bordeaux: Tastes of cinnamon, baking spices, molasses/honey. TAM 105: Our all-around workhorse, awesome for pizza and pasta. Turkey Red: Among our oldest landrace varieties, medium in intensity. Yecora Rojo: Great performer with rich malty, nutty notes.
The short answer: 3.5 cups water to 1 cup grits. Presoak for 30 minutes to an hour, if you’ve got the time. Generously salt and bring to a simmer, give a whisk, turn down to low, and let percolate until creamy, whisking regularly to keep from clumping or sticking. Finish with a knob of butter or a splash of cream.
For a more detailed recipe, click here (coming soon).
The shelf life for milled products is 2 to 2.5 months at room temperature or 6 months in the refrigerator or freezer. The shelf life for whole berries is, remarkably, 6 years.
For online orders or items purchased at any of the farmers’ markets, we mill each bag that same week. If you purchase through one of our retailers, you’ll find a Julian date indicating the date of the milling stamped onto the bottom, so you can calculate from there.
After 2 to 2.5 months at room temperature or 6 months in the refrigerator or freezer, the oils in the fresh germ will begin to oxidize and turn rancid. The flour will have an off smell. Think old cooking oil or bad nuts—and then throw it away! Whole berries (unmilled grains) will stay good for an astounding 6 years. In our home kitchens, we prefer to store our flours at room temperature and bake frequently.
While we are not a certified organic facility, all our farmers are Texas Department of Agriculture Certified organic, or they farm using organic practices and have signed an affidavit to that effect, which we keep on file. Nothing that has been treated with chemicals crosses the mill threshold.
Absolutely. All of our grains are open-pollinated ancient, landrace, or carefully selected modern grain varieties. We act as our own seedsmen and maintain our own seedstocks, which we personally deliver to our farmers. They are all grown in organic settings.
Our products are gluten-full, but you might be pleasantly surprised to know - many of our customers with gluten-related inflammatory or digestive issues enjoy them without issue.
Many have reported that they have no problem with organic, regionally-grown varieties and have enjoyed re-introducing these into their diet. We're not doctors - Always consult your doctor if you have food allergies, especially Celiacs disease.
But if you have gluten sensitivity, you may be interested to read this peer-reviewed study on gluten sensitivity, modern wheat, and heritage grains.
Even our cornmeal and rice are not gluten free, as they are processed in the same facility with our grains.
All orders will be milled and shipped the same week, according to your order’s shipping method.
If you need product immediately, we recommend you reach out to one of our retailers to see what they have in stock or stop by one of our farmers’ market stands. We offer a broad selection of our offerings at selected Central Market stores, our Austin and Dallas retail partners, and the farmers’ markets listed here
As of October 28th, we are not accepting tours, temporarily. We are in the process of moving into our brand new facility on Fitzhugh Rd. (yay!), but we have suspended Mill tours, until we have fully transitioned into our new home. Sign up for our newsletter to get updates on the new Mill opening date!
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